If I’m dating a guy, I know that I’m really starting to like him when I get the urge to invite him to dinner. Cooking is one of my love languages, and there is no better way to show a man that I feel strongly for him than by making a delicious home-cooked meal. As old-fashioned as it sounds, I actually enjoy cooking for them! What is less enjoyable is the agony I experience beforehand as I try to figure out what to make. The ideal meal is comforting, hearty, tasty, and easy to prepare. It should look something like the recipes shown here. Some of these dishes I have actually made for the men in my life, and trust me—they were impressed! Whether you’re cooking for a significant other, brother, cousin, or dad, you can’t go wrong with one of these 10 foolproof man-friendly dishes.
1. Bistro Steak With Buttermilk Onion Rings
When I called my girlfriend (who loves to cook and is always whipping up scrumptious dishes for her fiancé) in a panic about what to make for a new beau, she didn’t even hesitate or stop to think. She simply said, “BA’s bistro steak with onion rings.” She was right: This dish is a steak lover’s dream, and the homemade onion rings are so fun. When was the last time he had homemade onion rings? The answer may be never.
2. Patty Melt
Another dish he probably hasn’t had homemade in quite a while? A patty melt. Make yours gourmet with thick slices of sourdough bread, sautéed shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, and Havarti cheese.
3. Spaghetti and Meatballs
I’ve never met a man who turned down a plate of classic spaghetti and meatballs. This nostalgic dish is a consistent crowd-pleaser. If you’re dating an Italian stallion, be sure to double-taste that sauce. You want it to be better than his mama’s!
4. Lamb Chops
Lamb chops are finger-licking good, but the best ones require marinating in advance. Purchase the lamb chops the night before your date and let them bathe overnight in the garlic and rosemary mixture. When he arrives, all you have to do is toss them in a grill pan and go. Serve with heirloom tomato and burrata salad and crispy bread.
Is your man watching his waistline? Serve up a healthy platter of orange sesame grilled salmon. This Asian-inspired salmon is plated on a bed of sticky rice with sautéed onions, zucchini, and bell peppers. Delish!
6. Salami Salad
When I asked a married girlfriend what dish won her husband’s heart over, she said, “It’s kind of strange, but I made him a salad with salami in it at the start of our relationship, and he thought it was the most genius thing in the whole world.” That’s because it is genius! Every guy has had a salad with bacon, but probaly very few have experienced a salad with salami, right? Go ahead: Blow their minds!
7. Beef Tacos
Ground beef in a crunchy taco with shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese, and sour cream? Yes, please! This childhood favorite grows up with homemade crispy taco shells and a fragrant tomato-based beef mixture. If you have time, whip up a batch of guacamole and margaritas to start the meal.
8. Roast Chicken
There is no dish quite like roast chicken. It’s always scrumptious and almost impossible to mess up. The best thing about roast chicken is that it fills your house with the most delectable aroma.
9. Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Not all men are meat fanatics, and if you’re falling for a vegan, make him a cauliflower and roasted garbanzo bean rice bowl. The rice in this clever recipe is actually finely ground cauliflower.
Boys love burgers, and when it comes to burgers, you can’t go wrong taking a note from Bobby Flay. His recipe for traditional cheeseburgers is turned up a notch with a quick homemade slaw, chipotle ketchup, and potato chips. Yes, potato chips. Don’t leave them out—they make this burger!